(06/12/19) A joint investigation involving the Ashley County Sheriff’s Department, Chicot County Sheriff’s Department and Portland Police Department is being conducted for a man that has been impersonating an officer.
Officials say a man was arrested for walking into a business carrying a gun and badge while portraying to be a police officer. The man was driving a green Dodge truck or a red Chevrolet truck.
“We did take blue lights off this guy,” Sheriff Tommy Sturgeon said.
Officers aren’t sure if the man was issuing traffic stops. For some residents, knowing that someone is pretending to be a police officer is a major concern.
“It doesn’t make me feel safe at all,” Jousha McFelson said. “I might be doing something but I don’t want to be pulled over by the wrong cop.”
Driving unmarked vehicles isn’t uncommon for police officers and sheriff’s deputies. In the past few years, it’s become increasingly popular. Police cars have fewer markings to avoid detection in an effort to help keep the highways safer.
“The state police runs unmarked units. We run unmarked units every department does so it’s not uncommon,” Sheriff Sturgeon said.
However, they do want to make sure residents and drivers know the red flags of someone who is not employed by a law enforcement agency.
If you are pulled over and are unsure if the officer is an actual employee with a department, deputies say you should call 911 or drive to the nearest lit area and pull over.
If you decide to wait and pull over, officers recommend not accelerating the vehicle. They will assume a driver may be breaking the law.
The way an officer interacts is also a red flag. Officers encourage drivers and residents to be vigilant at all times.
“When the hair stands up on the back of your neck you need to listen to it,” Sheriff Sturgeon said.
Deputies haven’t released the name of the suspect yet. They’re looking for anyone in the public with information that can help prosecute him.
If you or someone you know has been pulled over by this truck or any other vehicle that looks like a personal vehicle, contact the Ashley County Sheriff’s Department at 870-265-8020.